Starting in childhood, as we experience the world around us, we are continually forming and reforming mental conceptions of things, what they are, how they act, what they’re for, etc.
If you were to review the category called “Things that grow vertically“, I think it’s safe to say that flowers, plants, and trees would be in that category. That’s an easy one, right? Well, maybe not.
Sometimes, not even the simple, core conceptions you have about the world around you are true and things don’t always act like they “should” according to the conceptional mould you’ve been forming about the world around you since birth.
That’s why visiting the “Crooked Trees” (or “Crooked Bush” depending on what sign you read) is so interesting. Here are aspen trees that don’t simply grow vertically. Instead they seem to grow UP and then sideways, UP again, sideways again, and so on.
Noticed as early as the 1940’s, this small stand of trees is located approximately 16 km north of Speers, Saskatchewan at N52° 52.266′ W107° 32.229’ and is bounded by a road, so they’re not likely to break out of their small plot any time soon.
Trees across the road outside this little plot of land seem perfectly normal so since they were noticed people have speculated about why what these trees act so differently. Was it UFO’s, meteorites, maybe radioactive soil?
As an experiment, parts of the trees were propagated in Manitoba. Dr. Bill Remphrey’s archived web page points out that
When the trees are vegetatively propagated and grown in sites in Manitoba, the crookedness is retained, and it is likely that the crooked trait stems from a genetic mutation.
In essence, because the trait can be propagated, it has little to do with location or soil factors.
And Dr. Remphrey notes on the same page that the specific genetic mutation probably has to do with a lack of strength of the tree shoots at critical times during its growth may be the reason.
That sounds reasonable to me.
Want to visit the Crooked Trees?
If you’re a geocacher, you can simply route yourself to https://coord.info/GC166TF.
If not, use these coordinates to get there using an automotive GPS device:
- First get to this corner at N52° 43.535′ W107° 34.574′(shown below) and turn north at this intersection (notice the sign pointing the way)
- Then turn right (east) at N52° 52.274′ W107° 34.573′ and drive the approximately 2km to the site.